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Facebook Creator App Offers Small Businesses New Video Options

Facebook Creator App Meant for Creating Livestreams, Videos, and Community

With video now the clear winner in customer engagement, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has just announced new tools for the creator community. This includes an app to manage the presence of creators on Facebook and a site where they can access resources to improve their skills and knowledge base.

Up until now YouTube has strongly dominated this segment, and no one really has attempted to compete with it. But in the past year, YouTube made changes to its monetization policies, which rubbed many creators the wrong way.

With two plus billion users in its platform, Facebook may realistically be able to come in, compete, and even challenge YouTube’s dominance. For small businesses, this means another platform they can use to easily create and upload videos for their audiences.

Chris Hatfield, Product Manager of Video at Facebook, said in the company’s news blog, “On Facebook, creators can connect with more than two billion potential fans and collaborators, get to know their community, talk directly to fans with Live, and monetize with products like branded content.” 

The Facebook Creator App

Described as a one-stop shop for creators, users can connect with communities on Facebook by making original videos and go live with exclusive features from their mobile device. The tools include Live Creative Kit, Community Tab, Camera & Stories, and Insights.

These tools have all the imaging  tools you need to create and connect with your audience. After you make your video, the analytics in Insights lets you see how users are engaging with it. It provides data about your Page, videos and fans. 

A New Website for Resources

The new website, called Facebook for Creators shows you how to make quality videos by learning new skills and techniques. You’ll even find a page with answers to common creator-specific questions.

Facebook has also created a community in which users can get early access to new features and tools. You can join the community here.

Video and the Small Business

Video has become one of the most effective modes of marketing in today’s digital world. Access to smartphones and broadband wireless now makes it possible for users to consume video from virtually anywhere.

According to stats highlighted by Wordstream, 87 percent of online marketers use video content and more video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years. Video is the future of the digital ecosystem.

If as a small business you’re not using video to engage with your customers, you are going to be left behind by your competition. Whether you use Facebook or another platform, there is nothing stopping you from creating personalized videos.

Facebook Creator is available now globally on iOS from the Apple App Store. Android users can expect to come aboard in the coming months.

Image: Facebook

This article, “Facebook Creator App Offers Small Businesses New Video Options” was first published on Small Business Trends


New Skype Business Platform in Preview, More Small Biz Headlines

Businesses that use Skype for communication purposes may be pleased to learn that Microsoft is previewing a new version of Skype that would serve as a consolidated business platform for a variety of business functions. And that isn’t the only news from the past week that might be of interest to small business owners. Squarespace, T-Mobile and more also made announcements that could impact the business community. Read about these headlines below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Technology Trends

Microsoft  is Previewing Skype Professional Account to Use Service as Business Platform

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has revealed that it is creating a unique Skype version for freelancers and small business owners. Called the Skype Professional Account, the new offering is designed to consolidate everything from billing to scheduling tools into one app.

Squarespace Launches New Mobile App for Tracking Customer Analytics

The redesigned mobile analytics platform from Squarespace gives you valuable insights into your website so you can make informed decisions about your small business. The new Squarespace Analytics app delivers a range of metrics about your website on your iOS and Android mobile device.

The T-Mobile REVVL Plus Combines Features with Competitive Pricing for Business

The T-Mobile REVVL Plus has been released three months after the company launched the budget-friendly REVVL line. The addition of the plus is going to give T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) customers a bigger screen, battery, and a price increase of $75. At $200 the REVVL Plus is entering a segment with a lot of competition.

What is Google Jamboard, and Will it Help Your Small Business?

Small businesses sometimes need to brainstorm on a whiteboard. But, whiteboard brainstorming meetings don’t really work when you have remote colleagues. To overcome this and other challenges, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has designed a cloud-based digital whiteboard called Jamboard for businesses.

Office of the Future: It’s Faster, Better, Smarter and Finally HERE!

Picture this: you step into your office and the light goes on automatically. You sit down at your desk and your computer recognizes your face, unlocking the screen. You ask your digital assistant what appointments you have, and you get a voice response back. No logging in, no typing. You get ready to print off four copies of last year’s strategic plan for tomorrow’s team meeting.


90% of Small Businesses Plan to Hire in 2018 — Depending on Budget

Small business optimism remains high and with this optimism comes thoughts of growth. According to a Microsoft Store and SurveyMonkey survey to determine trends for the upcoming year, the company found that 90 percent of small business plan to hire one or two employees next year. At the same time, counter to this optimism, is the reality of running a small business.

Small Businesses in the US Haven’t Been This Optimistic Since 2012

To find a time small business outlook was this positive, you would need to go all the way back to 2012. The latest Capital One Spark Business Small Business Growth Index goes on to say current business conditions are good or excellent for 60 percent of small business owners.


All Your Employees Want for the Holidays is a Little Time Off

You may be starting to think about what to get your employees as a nice holiday gift. Cash? Gift cards? According to a just released survey from Randstad US, the one thing employees loved most about the holidays was having some time off from work. In the survey, 70 percent said they love the time off they get at the holidays.

Small Businesses Add 79,000 Jobs in October — Big Rebound in a Month

Small business job creating rebounded considerably last month when compared with the month before. According to the October 2017 ADP National Small Business Report, small businesses with 49 or fewer employees added 79,000 jobs overall. In September, by contrast, small businesses lost 7,000 jobs.

Local Marketing

97% of Customers Read Online Reviews, Survey Says

Would you reconsider your attitude on consumer reviews if 97 percent of customers said they had read reviews for local businesses in 2017? Well, that is one of the findings of BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey. For small businesses, the gain or loss of customers has a bigger impact than for a large company.

Retail Trends

The Once Banned Kinder Eggs are Coming to the US

Kinder eggs are coming to the U.S. If you’re unfamiliar with this unique product that has lots of fans around the world, you might want to pay attention — it could be a great opportunity for your small business. The Kinder egg, or Kinder Surprise as it’s known in some circles, is basically a chocolate egg that contains a small plastic toy inside. It sounds innocent enough.

Shopify Has Real-Time Reporting for Your Online Store

What if you could view how your store is performing in real-time right from your mobile device or desktop? Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) has added yet another feature to its platform, giving small businesses more access than ever with Live View. A simple click on Live View will let you see new visitors, items in carts, customers making purchases and more.

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Success Offers Takeaways for Your Small Business

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) set a new record for sales on Singles’ Day this year. The Chinese ecommerce giant sold $25.3 billion in merchandise, a mark that’s 39 percent higher than sales from last year’s Singles’ Day. The annual shopping holiday is a growing phenomenon in China. It’s a day for single people to celebrate being single by buying gifts for themselves.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Fattmerchant  Offers Subscription-based Payment Processing for Business

Subscription businesses have made an impact on nearly every industry, from music to beauty supplies. And now, the idea is coming to payment processing, thanks to Fattmerchant. You can read more about the business and its unique way of serving merchants in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Provides payment processing services.


QuickBooks Capital Bases Credit for Loans on QuickBooks Data

Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) just announced the launch of a new small business lending service that’s powered by data and artificial intelligence. Small Business Trends’ Ramon Ray recently sat down with Rania Succar, head of QuickBooks Capital, to discuss the new offering and how it can potentially benefit small businesses.

78% of Small Businesses Say Higher Taxes May Cause Them to Downsize, Survey Says

Taxes can make a major impact on business decisions, according to a new report from Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). Fall 2017 Small Business Owner Report The Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report is a semi-annual survey of 1,000 business owners across the country.

Small Business Operations

Google Docs Outage Highlights Need for Backup of Online Business Services

Google Docs went down for a significant number of users Wednesday. The outage lasted for just about an hour and didn’t impact any other tools within Google Drive or G Suite. But because Google Docs is such a major tool for a lot of businesses and professionals, the outage had a major impact. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) didn’t share the exact number of users affected.

SimpleCitizen  Launches Service to Help Small Businesses Compete for Top Global Talent

A new software program is promising to streamline the pathway for small businesses looking to hire international workers. SimpleCitizen for small business is designed to automate every aspect of the business visa application process.

Xero HQ Apps Now Available to Small Business Accounting Companies in US

Xero (NZE:XRO) just announced the general availability of Xero HQ apps in the Americas. The release of the new apps corresponds with a growth of 43 percent in Xero’s business domestically. Ten apps have been launched in collaboration with the company’s partners to improve the Xero online accounting software for small businesses.

59% of Small Businesses Need Two Calls to Track a Late Payment

Late payments can lead to more than just delayed revenue for small businesses. They can lead to a loss in productivity as well. A recent survey from WePay and Survata found that 59 percent of small businesses have to follow up with customers on late payments an average of two times. For small businesses, this means that valuable resources are tied up.

Fleet Complete Launches Inspection App for Owners and Operators

If you are a small business with a fleet of vehicles, you might ask yourself if a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) solution is necessary. According to Toronto-based asset management and fleet tracking software company Fleet Complete, the answer is yes. Fleet Complete recently released a new app called Inspect.

Social Media

Facebook Introduces 4 New Ways to Grow Your Small Business Internationally

Four new cross-border solutions expand the initiative Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) launched in September of 2016 to give businesses global reach. The benefit of using Facebook’s platform to look for international opportunities is the incredible amount of data it provides.

Zoho Social  For Agencies Streamlines Management of Outsourced Social Media Marketing

Zoho Social for Agencies allows smaller advertising agencies the ability to manage several client accounts from one platform. These agencies can collaborate with clients and make reports using customized aggregated statistics. The new service from Zoho provides a way for small businesses to be more hands on in their marketing too.

Facebook  Community Boost Provides Mobile Economy Training to Novice Entrepreneurs

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has unveiled Facebook Community Boost — a new program that seeks to help U.S. small businesses grow by enhancing their digital skills. In a Facebook Newsroom post, Facebook’s VP of Small Business Dan Levy said the Facebook Community Boost program will visit 30 cities in 2018.

Image: Skype

This article, “New Skype Business Platform in Preview, More Small Biz Headlines” was first published on Small Business Trends


Decisions, Decisions: Hiring a Marketing Expert vs. Doing It Yourself

Running a small business today means operating in an era where there have never been more opportunities, choices and challenges. Small business owners have unlimited choices when it comes to marketing technologies and strategies to use or employ.

A small business could invest in an email service provider, a content management system, marketing automation software, online paid advertising or more traditional print advertising to grow their business. They could invest in a brand makeover, a new website or tradeshows. Every year thousands of new companies spring to life in the marketing technology industry alone.

The complex landscape of technology and strategies gives pause to small business owners to consider outsourcing their marketing. While there are times when it makes sense for businesses to keep their marketing in-house, outsourcing these tasks can open up new doors and help avoid costly mistakes. To make the best decision, small businesses should invest in a sound decision-making strategy and have clearly defined measurements in place to gauge the success or failure of their efforts.

Often, small business owners focus on the cost of hiring an agency. It’s important to take a step back and understand the goals of your business before making a decision.

  • First, you must decide if you want to grow your business or not. While the allure of fast growth is hard to ignore, many businesses thrive as lifestyle businesses, and they don’t need fast growth. In those cases, hiring an agency may not make financial sense. An owner’s goals can conflict with those of the agency.
  • Second, a business owner needs to have a firm grasp on their industry and the possibilities for growth if they do want to grow. A business that hires an agency but operates in a depressed industry will end up disappointed in whatever agency they hired. Agencies cannot perform miracles despite their best intentions, and they will struggle to generate leads from depressed industries.
  • Third, understand the concept of a lead and the value of that lead to your business. What does an email address mean to your business? If you had the email address and contact information from someone at a company, would that get you any closer to selling your product or service? Do you understand which kind of companies or buyers are a good fit for your product or services? If you struggle to answer those questions, an agency will struggle to deliver results.
  • Fourth and finally, a small business owner should look at the budget. Do you have enough money to hire an outsourced agency and keep that agency for a number of months? Hiring an agency and thinking you will see results in the first few weeks is a poor strategy. When considering a budget, ensure you have enough money to keep the agency on retainer for at least six months so they have time to understand your business and build a long-term strategy.

Editor’s Note: Looking for a marketing service? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

The checklist above is a helpful guide for helping small business owners rule out outsourcing. Assuming you have gone through the above checklist – you want to grow, have the ability to grow, understand the concept of a lead and have the budget – how do you decide whether you should use an in-house marketing team or hire an agency?

The first thing to consider is time. Analyze how much time you have in your day or how much time your staff has to focus on marketing and sales. A dangerous practice is pulling your (or someone on your team) energies away from other essential tasks to focus on something foreign and time-consuming.

The best way to figure out how much time you have is to write down everything you do during a normal business day. Using a notebook, jot down every task you accomplish. Ask your staff to do the same. Do this for a few days and analyze if you can really take the time necessary to focus on building and executing a marketing strategy. Building a marketing strategy and making it work can take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week (and sometimes more). Do you have those hours to spare?

Second, a small business should consider expertise. As marketing moves into more complex areas, like artificial intelligence and chatbots, finding a marketer who has the skills to handle these complex tools and apps will become more difficult. Rather than stressing out your team by asking them to work on activities outside their skill sets or trying to find the perfect new hire, working with an agency gives your business access to a team of experts. An agency’s team should have a diverse set of experiences and expertise that they can deploy for your marketing strategy. Don’t limit your options by trying to do it all yourself. Outsourcing your marketing means you are opening your business up to different kinds of talent and solutions.

Finally, consider cost. An agency may charge your company $3,000 a month to build out and launch a marketing plan, which totals $36,000 a year. What’s the cost of hiring someone full time comparatively when you factor in benefits and training? Keep in mind, to match the skill set of an agency, you may need to hire someone more senior (so more costly), and it can be hard to find a marketer who possesses the skills that a full-service agency has with their team.

When looking to hire a marketing agency, directories exist with hundreds of options. If you are worried about an agency not understanding your business, hire one that specializes in your industry. If you want to sit down with the agency face to face, look to hire a firm in your area. Develop a list of criteria the agency needs to meet to win your business and be clear about your expectations.

Within the right context, outsourcing your marketing can allow your small business to grow while freeing employees’ time. Using the checklists above, analyze your position and make a decision based on your context and aspirations.


Could AI Developments Get Out of Hand? Have They Already?

Fear not the killer robot, at least in your business AI applications, but plenty can go wrong that is a lot less dramatic.

LinkedIn: Engagement Comes First – (You're Using it Wrong)…

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Learning to Work With Robots Is How You Can Save Your Job.

You aren’t likely to be replaced by artificial intelligence but you could be replaced by somebody who does the job better using artificial intelligence.

Facebook Introduces 4 New Ways to Grow Your Small Business Internationally

Facebook Cross-Border Platform Introduces 4 New Ways to Grow Your Small Business Internationally

Four new cross-border solutions expand the initiative Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) launched in September of 2016 to give businesses global reach.

The benefit of using Facebook’s platform to look for international opportunities is the incredible amount of data it provides. These four solutions deliver extremely valuable insight into new locations, which can be your neighboring city or one that is on the other side of the globe.

New Facebook Cross-Border Features

The four new features include:

Dynamic Language Optimization – Even if you are a polyglot, it will take you a long time to translate your campaign into different languages. With this language optimization feature, Facebook says it will match the right language, to the right person, at the right time. And best of all it will optimize the performance based on your campaign objective and total budget.

Multi-country Look-Alike Audiences – Without ever having to step into another country, this feature will find customers like you currently have in any combination of countries or regions.

Multi-city Targeting – If you are looking to target multiple cities, your small business can now target cities based on population size without adding cities individually or doing research.

Facebook IQ Cross-Border Insights Finder – What if you are looking for a new location, but don’t know where to go? The Insights Finder will help advertisers discover untapped markets using comparative data based on past campaign performance across different channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.

Facebook Cross-Border Program

Facebook introduced Cross-Border Solutions last year with the goal of helping businesses grow internationally no matter where they are. Using features such as Lookalike Audiences, businesses are able to reach customers in new cities, states and countries that are just like their existing ones.

Facebook says there are more than 1.2 billion people on Facebook are connected to a small business in another country. On its Facebook Business page, the company goes on to explain, “As more people around the world come online, businesses have an opportunity to connect with new customers, many of whom live in different cities, regions or countries.”

With so much information available to small businesses today, it can be overwhelming at times. Facebook has developed a Blueprint eLearning course titled Expand across Borders with Facebook to help navigate the waters. You can access the course here.

Image: Facebook

This article, “Facebook Introduces 4 New Ways to Grow Your Small Business Internationally” was first published on Small Business Trends

25 Small Business Ideas for Athletes

25 Small Business Ideas for Athletes

To be successful in sports doesn’t always require being gifted with athletic talents.

Some of the greatest coaches weren’t the best players and some never played the game at all.

To that end, there are plenty of business opportunities that have a focus on sports that don’t necessarily require you to be able to run fast, shoot a basketball better than anyone, or even sink a 10-foot golf putt. But that doesn’t disqualify you if you are good at sports. There are chances to turn that talent into a lucrative business or even a brisk side business.

Business Ideas for Athletes

Here’s a list of 25 business startups for those who love sports.

Open a Sports Store

It doesn’t matter where you live in the country, people play sports. Taking the extra time to make sure your idea for a sports store fits in with the local culture is important. For example, offering beach volleyball supplies works better in Malibu then a ski shop.

Become a Coach

If you’ve been an athlete, you probably want to pass along some of your knowledge and experience. Getting involved coaching at the high school level usually means meeting some educational requirements too.

Become a Sports Blogger

Setting up a blog as your sports business requires very little capital. You can blog about the sport you were involved in or choose a wider swath. Insider information from colleagues with athletic backgrounds will position your blog in a good place.

Become a Sports Photographer

25 Small Business Ideas for Athletes
Some of these ideas will require you add to your sports background. Some sports photography jobs you might apply for will want you to use both manual and digital cameras.

Start a PR Business

Athletes have an insider scoop on relating to people who are currently playing games. Starting a public relations business to manage sports personalities is another idea. You’ll need to understand how to pursue deals and advertising while managing your client’s reputation.

Start a Magazine

Some of the best apps for creating your own publication include Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. You can monetize the publication by getting in touch with old colleagues and selling ads.

Open an Academy

If you want to help develop young talent, this is one way to go. Don’t forget to put together a solid business plan so you can get a loan.

Become a Scout

Looking for new talent for an organization in the sport you play or played in is another option. Be forewarned here. This business isn’t for a homebody since you’ll be spending a lot of time on the road.

Start a Sports Betting Website

This a a growth industry that can certainly be helped along with past sports experience. You’ll need to find the right kind of software and stay abreast of the requirements in the jurisdiction you’re setting the website up in.

Become a YouTube Trainer

Take advantage of how easy it is to make and upload a YouTube video. You might need to buy a professional camera but your initial cash outlay should be small. A series of short training videos can be directed to a website where you offer full courses.

Open A Gym

Remember that being a boxer is good if you’re looking to open a gym. However you’ll need some business punch too. You’ll need to learn about financing and pick a good location. Don’t forget about getting the right insurance as well.

Start a Sports Radio Station

The Internet makes this easy. All you need to get started is a computer, a good internet connection and the right software. If you’re looking to keep costs way down, consider the open source software available.

Start a Jersey Customizing Business

Everyone wants to wear the name and number of their favorite athlete. Make sure any and all suppliers are licensed properly. A good graphic designer is another must have for this idea.

Start a Sports Promotion Business

Before you jump into any particular niche, it’s a good idea to investigate the competition. Having a good business plan is a prerequisite. These cover everything from a target market description to marketing essentials.

Produce Sports Video Games

Game designers all say that designing credible people for their games is a big challenge. People with sports backgrounds are great consultants to help accomplish this goal.

Sell Sports Memorabilia

You should have the inside track here, especially in the sport you played. These types of trinkets are big sellers at events and festivals. Renting a table can be an alternative to opening a brick and mortar store or even putting up a website.

Open a Sports Bar

25 Small Business Ideas for Athletes
Build on the theme of the sport you played in or are currently playing in. One way to make the place unique is add memorabilia from your career.

Open a Sports Camp

Make sure to bring in other coaches and athletes so campers get a well rounded perspective. If you can get a local sports personality’s endorsement, all the better. Scale is important here. If your camp lasts for several weeks you’ll need a bigger staff.

Become a Golf Instructor

The capital that you might need to start a business like this is smaller than you think. An online golf instructor can easily upload videos to YouTube. You really only need a good video camera or a GoPro to get started.

Become a Swim Instructor

Your municipality more than likely has courses for you to take to get licensed. If you are an athlete looking to stay in shape, this is a great way to do that, make some money and help people in your community.

Become a Referee

Looking to put your knowledge of your sport to the test? Being a referee is one way of doing just that. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be accredited by the local sports organization.

Become a Sports Therapist

You’ll more than likely be a part of a larger team of trainers and doctors if you get on with a team. Of course the other route is to open your own business and serve individual athletes.

Become a Sports Equipment Manufacturer

If you’re going to start out small and have an online presence, make sure you offer multiple payments methods and discounts.

Develop Sports Apps

Building mobile sports apps is big business. Remember that the most successful apps are easy to use. They should have what’s called a finger friendly design too.

Sell Tickets for Sporting Events

Having the right strategy is important here. A pre-public release schedule for members is a good option to attract a client base.

Football Practice Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “25 Small Business Ideas for Athletes” was first published on Small Business Trends

Lil Peep's Online Merch Sells Out Hours After Death

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4 Practical Tips to Prepare Your Small Business for an AI-Driven Environment

Over the past decade, few technologies have captured our lives quite as much as artificial intelligence. We’ve become more dependent on AI-powered chatbots for online navigation, AI-powered cars for safety on the road, and Cortana, Siri, and other virtual assistants to help organize our personal and professional lives.

On the corporate front, large companies and multinationals like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are infusing AI into most of their products and service offerings, bringing tons of benefits to everyday customers. Consequently, AI has transformed into a significant platform for the business world, with some reports predicting the industry will be worth over $14 billion by 2023, up from the $525 million recorded in 2015.

For small businesses, AI is a significant transformative force that can give your business a competitive edge in a variety of ways. AI applications can be used to drive customer engagement on CRM platforms, mine social data, and improve supply chain efficiency and other business processes depending on your organization’s needs.

Still, even with all the perks that come with AI, rolling it out can be a daunting task for small businesses that are unfamiliar with the technology. With a bit of planning and strategy, however, you can join the growing number of small businesses that are integrating AI into everyday processes.

Here are a few pointers to help you lay the groundwork for successful integration of AI.

1. Familiarize yourself with AI.

As a small business owner, it’s imperative that you take the time personally and professionally to understand the capabilities of AI. There are tons of online resources, courses and workshops that you can use to learn about AI and what it can do for your small business. Some examples are the Intro to AI course from Udacity, the online AI course offered by edX and Columbia University, and the online AI lectures from Stanford University.   

2. Ensure your IT infrastructure can handle the tech.

One of the major impediments to AI for small businesses is usually the lack of a solid IT infrastructure that can handle the data-hungry and superfast calculations that make AI possible. Indeed, as one 2016 study pointed out, the difficulty in tracking and analyzing data was a major obstacle for enterprises in the process of integrating AI. Therefore, if you intend to take up AI-based technologies in the future, a good first step is to replace the legacy devices on your business premises with modern, cloud-based solutions that will integrate seamlessly with any future AI technology.  

3. Identify key areas within the business that would benefit from AI.

No small business should dive into the world of AI without a concrete plan of action. When designing your plan, identify and prioritize areas within your business that stand to benefit the most from AI. Figure out ways you can integrate AI into existing products and services to add value and solve specific business problems.

For instance, if you’re in the restaurant business, you may think about including self-driving cars as part of your food delivery department. If you’re in an industry such as accounting, business lending or insurance, AI might come in handy during decision-making, especially when processing the large troves of data needed to make such decisions. Fintech startups such as Kabbage and Cashfloat can offer good reference points for businesses in these niches that want to use AI for data analytics and decision-making.  

4. Start slow and keep tabs on developments in AI.

As a small business, your first interaction with AI will most likely come from software vendors. As such, it’s always important to go with vendors that have shown interest and invested in AI and big data.

Companies such as Microsoft and Google are usually a good bet, considering the billions of dollars they’ve invested in different areas of AI. Because they build elements of AI into their products, your business will benefit massively by being among the early adopters within your industry.  

Finally, remember to keep an eye on the evolving AI playing field so that your business is not left behind. As our understanding of machine learning, natural language processing, deep learning and other components of AI improve with time, there’s bound to be many opportunities for your business to dig in.

Even if you’re not planning to integrate any element of AI immediately, staying updated on emerging AI technologies will give you an important edge over your competitors in the future.


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Zoho Social For Agencies Streamlines Management of Outsourced Social Media Marketing

Zoho Social For Agencies Lets Managers Control a Company's Social Media Presence and Advertising
Zoho Social for Agencies allows smaller advertising agencies the ability to manage several client accounts from one platform. These agencies can collaborate with clients and make reports using customized aggregated statistics.

The new service from Zoho provides a way for small businesses to be more hands on in their marketing too. Not every small business has the resources to handle social media marketing. So they often outsource the work  instead. But the new platform allows small businesses to maintain more say in important aspects like publishing and scheduling posts and engaging with customers.

Zoho Social for Agencies Eliminates Emails

One advantage becomes immediately clear. Social for Agencies eliminates sending emails back and forth between the agency and the small business. Praval Singh, Product Manager for the parent product, Zoho Social spoke with Small Business Trends about who benefits most from the new product.

“Zoho Social is geared towards digital agencies that offer social media marketing as a service to their clients, with the help of a team of social media and content marketers. Most agencies are small companies, but they do manage social media for large clients,” he said.

Using Zoho Social for Agencies to Publish and Schedule Posts

“Since Zoho Social for Agencies helps with publishing and scheduling posts, listening to mentions and keywords, engaging with prospects and customers in real-time, and creating custom reports to measure performance, it is a complete social media management tool for digital agencies,” Singh explains.

The Zoho Social for Agencies edition has a number of features.

First, the tool allows agencies to manage their brands and clients from one place while also specifying distinct rolls for different team members. The built-in cooperation feature means small businesses are always kept in the loop.

New Discussions

Team members can start new discussions and collaborate with clients or among themselves. A tagging feature facilitates the process allowing you to invite clients or team members to specific discussions. Not only does this improve the overall decision-making process,  according to Zoho. It preserves a record of the process as well.

The tool can also be customized for branding with logos on reports and invitation to clients is included.

Integrating Zoho Social for Agencies with Facebook Lead Ads

Zoho Social for Agencies can also integrate with Facebook lead ads. Agencies can generate leads from these Facebook campaigns and slide them right into the Zoho CRM system for their clients with no need to download leads manually from Facebook. Zoho argues this  feature becomes a time and cost saving measure promoting quicker decision-making.

Zoho Social for Agencies has two different plans, an Agency and Agency Plus version based on the number of brands each can accomodate. The Agency version costs $1000 a year for 15 brands and the Agency Plus costs $1500 a year for 25 brands.

Zoho Corporation is a business management software (SaaS) developer and information technology company with 5,000 employees and offices in California and India.

Image: Zoho

This article, “Zoho Social For Agencies Streamlines Management of Outsourced Social Media Marketing” was first published on Small Business Trends

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